CONCERT Anubhooti, the fusion band by Carnatic vocalists Trichur Brothers, displayed talent in abundance. But while altering traditional idioms, it’s important to keep its core values intact
Kalidasa, the great poet says “ puraanamityeva na saadhu sarvam, na chaapi kaavyam navamityavadhyam ” – Just because something is ancient, does not mean that it is always right; nor should a work of literature be condemned because it is new. He proceeds to say that the wise shall duly analyze and pick the best. In the field of fine arts and literature this quote has always been relevant.
On Saturday, Bangalore witnessed another attempt in experimenting with classical Carnatic music. The famed Trichur brothers gave an entertaining performance through their innovative band – Anubhooti , in Bangalore. The event “ Sur Sanjeevini ” was organised by Saras communications as a benefit concert for Jnana Sanjeevini Diabetes Hospital. The concert which was a blend of Carnatic and Western music, presented new as well as traditional nuances that catered to the tastes of all sections of audience. Beginning with an interesting breathless rendition of the laghu swaras, the group went on to perform some of the most popular compositions of Carnatic tradition. “ Bantu reeti ” in Hamsanandi raaga, aditaala brought to mind Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar. This was followed by “ Brochevarevarura” , composition by Mysore Vasudevacharya in Khamas. While the rendition by itself was technically brilliant, the absence of the underlying bhaava was conspicuous. The accompaniment of the drums and the key board did less to evoke the right mood for this composition. The dilemma one faces in doing justice to famous compositions that are steeped in Bhakti, Karuna and Aardra bhaavas, especially when experimenting with fusion was evident here too. One wonders if it is really necessary to popularise an inherently brilliant composition through compromised contemporary methods.
Western music is also extremely effective in evoking the right emotions, but fusion attempts should try to imbibe those factors rather than negate the beauty of the rasa. It hence requires a rigorous effort to pick the right compositions. The group does deserve a righteous mention on that front in some instances – “ Bho Shambho ” the regal composition by Sri Dayanand Saraswathi, was one such choice. The accompaniment of the bass guitar, drums and keyboard augmented the majestic rendition of the brothers themselves. Jeoraj Stanley on the drums gave a fantastic accompaniment for this song as well as “ Nagumomu ”.
The Boat race song from Kerala set to a mixture of Neelambari and Shankarabharanam Raagas was refreshing, and the involvement of the audience was an entertaining factor. The famous Sanskrit composition “ Harivaraasanam ” was a testimony for the emotive skills of Srikrishna Mohan. While Ram mohan excelled with a captivating voice, Krishna Mohan was a class apart in bringing out the rasa in his performance. Another famous composition by Tyagaraja, “Nagumomu” showcased the evergreen brilliance of their father Trichur R. Mohan on mridangam. Technically it was fine, but the longing and viraha that is the hallmark of this krithi was unfortunately masked by the fusion. The shaareera of the performers was keeping in vogue with an entertaining performance but not necessarily a classical rendition. “Jagadoddharana” and “Krishnam kalaya sakhi” were memorable as was “Pibare Rama Rasam”, a composition by Sri Sadashiva Brahmendra in Kalyani.
The group Anubhooti has an amazingly talented group of young musicians in its core. With the right choice of compositions and sensitive renditions, there is no doubt that they shall remain a hallmark group for many years to come. To uphold dynamism is important, to hold on to the intrinsic bhava is equally important.
PRAVEEN S. SHIVASHANKAR